Australian authorities are saying don't eat rockmelon after 86 people were poisoned by salmonella

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

A salmonella outbreak that’s made 86 people ill across Australia has led to a Northern Territory rockmelon grower recalling his fruit.

SA Health chief medical officer professor Paddy Phillips said people should not to consume rockmelon following a national outbreak of the rare strain salmonella hvittingfoss.

“Following the positive test results, the rockmelon grower ‘Red Dirt’ has said it will undertake a trade level recall of their product,” he said.

“As a precaution, SA Health recommends anyone who has rockmelon in their home to discard the product as washing the rockmelon will not remove the salmonella, and to not consume any other rockmelon until further notice.”

Of the 86 cases reported since June, 43 are in NSW and nearly half of those who’ve fallen ill are under five, while South Australia has reported 20 cases in people are aged from eight months through to 81, with 65 % aged under five years.

South Australian normally has around two cases of salmonella hvittingfoss annually, NSW about two a month.

The symptoms include fever, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, headache, stomach cramps, and nausea and vomiting and normally occur between 12 and 72 hours after exposure. The symptoms can last for three to seven days.

Food Standards Australia said the best advice is that consumers, especially infants, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems, should not consume rockmelon.

The salmonella outbreak was confirmed yesterday and Woolworths removed all Red Dirt rockmelons from its stores on Monday.

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